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Andy Gibb Remembered As Caring Man

Andy Gibb Remembered As Caring Man

March 18, 1988|By DEBORAH WILKER, Pop Music Writer
Several South Florida friends and fans of Andy Gibb have been calling to say what a truly nice person he was.
Guitarist Joey Murcia, who toured with the Bee Gees during that group`s Saturday Night Fever heyday, also played lead guitar for Gibb in the studio and on the road. Murcia, 40, remembers the Bee Gees` younger brother as ``just a beautiful little kid. He had a heart as big as gold. He really went to bat for us (the session players) with the record company,`` said Murcia. ``We were just studio guys, but Andy wanted us in on the royalties and on the road with him later.`` Murcia, who is now a club performer in Key Largo, said, ``Andy enabled me to buy my property in the Keys. I`m living here thanks to his generosity.``

Murcia vividly remembers the recording session at Miami`s Criteria studios that led to Gibb`s biggest hits -- I Just Want to Be Your Everything and Shadow Dancing. ``Barry wrote those songs for Andy. We cut those hits in one day, with Barry singing. Then, six months later we heard Andy on the radio. It hit No. 1 immediately, so we all rushed back to the studio and got the album (Flowing Rivers) together real fast.
``Andy was incredibly young, (19) and infatuated with the music business .He was always in a hurry,`` Murcia said. ``He always wanted to get on to the next great thing without enjoying the last great thing.``
Although Gibb, who was 30, probably will be remembered more for his dashing teen-idol looks than for his music, he still was one of the world`s most successful pop singers from 1977 to 1980. All of his first six singles made Billboard`s Top 10 -- a rare feat at the time. It also should be noted that Gibb forged his popularity during the height of the thumping disco craze with a gentle, effervescent brand of music. He was a polished, attractive singer who never could escape the shadow of his older brothers. The ultimate irony of his untimely death in London last week (reportedly due to a heart ailment), was that Gibb had just signed with Island Records, and was preparing to renew his career.
Gibb, who admitted to several bouts of drug use, had attempted rehabilitation many times. Murcia, and others who knew Gibb, say they were angered last week by initial speculation that Gibb had likely died of a drug overdose. Murcia, who is the brother-in-law of actress Ann Jillian, said he saw Gibb about nine months ago in Hollywood, Calif., at Jillian`s home. ``He said he was clean. He looked the best I`d ever seen him. He had even gained some weight.``
But the stories that Gibb had never taken proper care of himself were true, Murcia said. ``On tour he ate a typical young diet of fast food, and he slept very little.``
Lately, Gibb had been hinting at having a family. ``He really wanted a nice home life of his own,`` Murcia said. ``He wanted to meet the right woman and get married. He was just a nice person. My heart goes out to the Gibbs -- they`re all very fine people.``
It`s of little importance now whether it was heart trouble, drug abuse, or just too many years of hard living that finally caught up with Andy Gibb. Perhaps he`d just be pleased to know that although he had been long absent from the local and national music scene, he certainly wasn`t forgotten


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